The Steamy Kitchen book tour is coming to Seattle this week, and you’ve got three chances to meet author Jaden Hair.
I asked Jaden last week how Seattle wound up as a tour stop for her book on “101 Asian Recipes Simple Enough For Tonight’s Dinner,” in these days of pinched book budgets. Are we (I hope) such a hotbed of fish sauce, lemongrass, and soba noodles that we were a natural audience? She told me it’s because she had so much fun on her last trip here.
You can find Jaden from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday (Nov. 9) at the Admiral Metropolitan Market (2320 42nd Ave S.W.), then at the University Bookstore (4326 University Way N.E.) at 7 p.m. the same night for a book signing and food. On Tuesday, Nov. 10, she’s teaching a cooking class at 6 p.m. at Sur La Table in Kirkland (cost: $69, registration here).
My interview with Jaden is up here on Al Dente Blog, but here are some other highlights from our conversation:
One was that her speaking voice strikes the same fun, casual, best-friend tone as her blog. That’s hard to do. But it should work that way, Jaden said, because the blog is literally her voice. She writes using voice recognition software, talking through her posts instead of typing, for every part except the recipes. “I hate to write,” she said.
She’s worked hard to get where she is today, moving in just two years from beginning blogger to author and photographer and TV personality. And now, she isn’t sure what to do next. “I’m at the point where I love what I do so much,” she said. The next big career step would be a regular TV show (she’s talked with the Food Network), one where “I would have a boss again,” she said. “I would have an editor, a producer, all those people who have influence on what I do. I don’t know if I’m quite ready for that yet. I want to sit back and relax and enjoy this. I can pick up my kids anytime from school, and they can hang out with me at home. If I want to cook pork chops on TV tomorrow, I can do it. I don’t have anyone telling me it has to be this style or this way.”
I also asked if her relationship with readers has changed as she’s grown from an unknown to a blog-star with a newspaper column and more Twitter followers than Ruth Reichl. Does that change her relationship with new readers, are people seeking her out now as a potentially powerful mentor rather than a blog buddy?
She is getting a lot more requests from writers and chefs, asking how to promote their products, or saying something like “My publisher asked me to start a blog.” She tells them that blogging and Twitter have to be things they do every day. “It’s like, you don’t schedule time to brush your teeth, it’s something you do. You can’t say “I’m going to tweet for an hour tomorrow at two.” If you want to be successful at blogging, at promoting something, it’s got to be part of your life…it’s got to be all, or don’t bother.”
She can’t always answer questions one-on-one, but she was glad to do a recent phone-in forum with the International Association of Culinary Professionals, and said she’ d like to do more group talks like that. “I want to share the information (I have), because I got started because people were generous with their time with me.”